Hummus has become a popular dip for snacks and meals over the past several years. Recipes for hummus vary depending on what region it comes from. Some recipes call for the addition of yogurt, some add a potato, and some just stick with the basic ingredients. Hummus has been a staple in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern diets for centuries, but is hummus fattening or healthy?
Ingredients in Hummus
The most basic recipe for hummus calls for chickpeas/garbanzo beans, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, a dash of salt and olive oil. Some recipes include things like yogurt, potato, cumin, paprika, parsley and/or roasted red pepper. Since the major ingredients in the recipe are chickpeas, tahini and olive oil, we will examine the different health benefits and potential negative health effects of each one.
Chickpeas are the main ingredient in hummus. They are an excellent source of protein and both soluble and insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber helps lower you cholesterol, which paired with chickpeas high Magnesium and Folate leads to a significant benefit to your heart health. A low GI means that they won’t spike your blood sugar. Another benefit of chickpeas is that they are full of molybdenum that helps your body detoxify sulfites, which are found in many wines, luncheon meats and prepared salads.
For those sensitive to chickpeas, too much hummus could cause a severe allergic reaction. Consuming large amounts of chickpeas can induce over accumulation of uric acid, which can cause kidney stones and gout.
Tahini is the second main ingredient in hummus. It is essentially sesame seed paste, and tastes very similar to peanut butter. Tahini is very low in sodium and cholesterol and an excellent source of Thiamin, Magnesium, Zinc, Iron, Phosphorus and Copper. This combination of vitamins and minerals make it an excellent complement to the chickpeas in hummus.
Consuming large amounts of tahini is not recommended, due to its high fat content. While the fat is good fat, which is not fattening, too much of anything is detrimental to your system.
Olive oil is one of the healthiest oils a person can consume. It is composed of two main fatty acids, oleic and linoleic. The linoleic fatty acids lower your LDL and HDL cholesterol levels, while the oleic fatty acids lower your LDL and raise your HDL levels. Since olive oil is extracted directly from the fruit with minimal processing, most, if not all, of the vitamins and minerals found in olives are preserved.
Like all fats and oils, consuming too much olive oil can overwhelm you system, so it is important to consume in moderation. If also can turn rancid if kept too long, so be sure to check that it is fresh.
So Can Hummus Make you Fat?
Overall, hummus is a very healthy dip that is great for all diets. It is full of protein, vitamins, minerals and good fats. It can help lower your risk of heart attack and keeps your body healthy. However, it can be fattening if you eat excessively large amounts, but anything in large amounts has detrimental health effects.